Projects for refugee children
Since 2022, Social Science Works has been carrying out projects aimed at children with refugee experiences, some of whom have been accommodated for years in so-called “transitional housing”. These shelters are often located in remote locations, which are secured by fences and security personnel. It can be assumed that placement in these shelters has an aggravated impact on children and adolescents. Involuntary cohabitation in confined spaces, without a clear time perspective, creates a considerable psychosocial burden also for children and adolescents. This is exacerbated by the lack of privacy, the prevailing heteronomy and the long periods without suitable occupation. The aim of the projects is to create a supportive environment in which the children feel comfortable and safe, can be children and at the same time develop their linguistic as well as social skills. Students and professionals in the fields of social work, teaching or similar are invariably responsible for the implementation of the projects. The projects include a variety of activities that are specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of refugee children. The projects include offerings in the following areas, among others:
– Interactive language games and exercises to improve vocabulary and expressive skills.
– Reading aloud and discussion of stories to promote listening comprehension and reading skills.
Strengthening social and emotional well-being:
– Games and exercises that strengthen trust and teamwork
– Trips to nearby parks, playgrounds or cultural events to get to know the surroundings (even) better and broaden horizons.
– Play afternoons with board games, painting and handicrafts to encourage creativity and playing together.
Since 2022, various projects have been carried out, about which we have already reported regularly:
Between September 2022 and April 2023, the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk e.V. supported a project in Rangsdorf. With children from the two Rangsdorf accommodations, a group of 15 children between the ages of five and eight was formed and cared for for three hours per week.
Between January 2023 and April 2023, the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk e.V. supported a project with 15 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 in Potsdam. This represented a separate form of children’s projects, as girls or women are repeatedly exposed to discrimination and disadvantage in the prevailing patriarchal structures. In particular, girls with refugee experiences are increasingly affected due to intersectionality. Through a girls’ meeting place, a protective space was created in which exchange and networking among each other was made possible. Free of (role) expectations and demands, the young women were able to meet in order to develop their competencies together. The weekly meetings were organized according to the needs of the participants. The activities focused on strengthening individual resources such as self-confidence, self-esteem (empowerment), self-care and self-determination.
Between March 2023 and June 2023, four projects for children and adolescents were supported by the German Postcode Lottery. These included a children’s project in Ludwigsfelde, one in Werder and two in Teltow Stadt. Here, too, groups of around 12 to 15 children between the ages of five and eight were formed. These also met once a week for two to three hours.
Since September 2023, another children’s project has been running in Rangsdorf. This time the project is financed by the municipality of Rangsdorf. In the future, we would like to see a firm cooperation with more communities, as is currently the case in Rangsdorf, so that more children can be reached on an ongoing basis.
Many cooperations have already been entered into within the framework of the children’s groups. For example, the children’s group in Rangsdorf made several trips with the Waldhaus Blankenfelde (environmental education center of the Landschaftspflegeverein Mittelbrandenburg e.V.) and a trip to the volunteer fire department Rangsdorf (for a report of the Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung click here). Furthermore, we worked together with two different kindergartens, which made their exercise rooms available to us during the winter. With the girls’ group in Potsdam, for example, we visited the youth club “Club Mitte” (Stiftung Sozialpädagogisches Institut Berlin) and the boxing club FAIR (youth aid project of the Universitätssportverein (USV) Potsdam e.V.).
Social Science Works has a very clear child protection policy, which you can view here.
The children’s groups are led by various Social Science Works staff members who have a background in youth work or education. An overview of these staff members can be found here.
Various publications about the children’s groups with impressions of the activities and experiences can be found here:
- Final report on the project Empowering Refugee Children in Rangsdorf.
- German Children’s Fund supports new project: “Strong girls in rural areas”
You can also find some more information about the individual projects below.
You want to support our children’s groups? Please contact us at email@example.com.
Ongoing and recently completed youth projects
Empowering Refugee Children
After successfully implementing a children’s project in 2022 with support from the Deutschen Kinderhilfswerk, we significantly expanded our activities in this area in 2023. The original project in Rangsdorf was first extended with the support of the Kinderhilfswerk, and then continued with the support of the Municipality of Rangsdorf. Reports of this can be found here and here. In addition, the Deutsche Postcode Lottery (FA-11408) supported the formation of four similar groups in Teltow Stadt (2), Ludwigsfelde and Werder. The ideas behind the project are that refugee and trauma experiences, language deficits, living conditions in shelters and non-attendance at day care centers lead to significantly lower educational opportunities and future prospects for refugee children. Groups of 10 children each aged 5 to 10 were therefore formed with children from transitional homes. For six months, they are supervised for 2-3 hours a week by two social pedagogues. The focus is on strengthening self-determination, self-control and language skills, creative play and getting to know the outside world.
Empowering Refugee Girls
On top of children groups, in 2023 we have worked with two groups for girls aged 12 to 17. It goes without saying that young people of this age are confronted with special problems, especially if they have a migration background and have to combine the cultural demands of the family at home and the society and peer group in the outside world. The groups offer a protected space in which all relevant problems can be discussed with each other and in which the two counselors can provide the girls with advice and support. A report can be found here.
Empowerment of refugee children
The Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk e.V. supports a new project by Social Science Works in Brandenburg, which is aimed at children of refugees, some of whom have been housed for years in so-called transitional refugee homes. These children are severely disadvantaged. Experiences of flight and additional traumas suffered by them and their parents, living conditions in the homes, frequent non-attendance of daycare centers where they can learn the German language and get used to everyday school life, lead to developmental disadvantages and reduced educational and professional opportunities. To counteract these tendencies and prevent the development of a new generation of socially disadvantaged people, the children concerned need additional support and encouragement.
A group of 10 children aged 5 to 8 will be formed with children from the two homes in Rangsdorf, who will be looked after by social pedagogues for three hours a week from September 2022. Activities will focus on building self-confidence, creative play and learning about the world outside the refugee camps.
The project is led by our Fellow Zak Reimer. Zak holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Montana State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Montana. His research interests include childhood development, refugee integration, and conflict mediation. He has been involved in many integration projects in the United States and Germany. For more information on this project, click here.